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Builders: ‘Zero carbon homes need to be realistic’

The FMB joined both the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in calling on the Government to ensure a deliverable definition of "Zero carbon" homes.

Brian Berry Director of External Affairs at the FMB said: "While we all accept that the environmental performance of the housing stock must be improved, the rate at which this improvement takes place must be realistic, and the standards affordable.

"At the moment, the Government is going full steam ahead with no acknowledgement of the worst crisis to face house building in a generation, and no understanding that they may actually make the situation worse.

"The bottom line is that the same would-be home owners who are already expected to find the money to pay for social housing, section 106 agreements and all of the other hidden expenses that government pile onto the price of a house, cannot afford the current burden, let alone any new ones.

"Building to Zero Carbon standards as suggested in the consultation will add tens of thousands of pounds to the cost of building a home, and even then, true zero carbon may not be practically deliverable for many types of development.

"Failure to meet the standard is likely to attract further ‘contributions’, for example to a variant of the Community Energy Fund. Planned new burdens such as this and the proposed Community Infrastructure Levy will only exacerbate the existing affordability crisis and further depress housing production which is already on its knees and lagging far behind what we require to house our ever-growing population.

"The Government needs to make tough choices and stop seeing the homebuyers as some sort bottomless pit of funding for their various policy wish lists."

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